Our journey began in January 2016 at the Administrative Council planning workshop led by Pastor Doug Lain, who had recently been appointed to our church. We brainstormed ideas on new opportunities to serve today’s church, and Racial Diversity emerged as a finalist. The charter members of our group had a brief huddle and scheduled our first meeting. We quickly realized that before we could start this work we needed to have a better understanding of our individual perspectives on the subject. There were several months of meetings including open hearted discussions, group study projects and assessments before we established our mission and goals. Racial Unity Group seemed a more appropriate name.
Wrightsville UMC’s Racial Unity Committee’s mission statement is to bring together Christians of different races to build relationships, better understand our differences, and work toward reconciliation- so that all God’s children might be one. Ephesians 2:14- “For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.” The goals for our group center on education, service and fellowship.
Highlighted among our educational programs are Cultural Humility Training and Race, Church and Healing Workshops, hosted last March and April by CCW Transformational Ministries. Cultural Humility Training invited participants to complete the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI)®, complete a 1:1 confidential debriefing meeting and a group session to discuss the collective results. The IDI was created to assess an individual’s intercultural competence, the capability to shift cultural perspective and appropriately adapt behavior to populations unlike one’s own. The assessment provides valuable information about your mindset and helps you increase your own cultural self-and-other-understanding. Race, Church and Healing covered topics related to race and community life over 6 weekly sessions.
Our main service project is providing support for Leading into New Communities (LINC). LINC is a transitional living facility that provides a state-of-the-art therapeutic environment including educational, health and rehabilitation services to individual recently released from the correctional system in support of successful reentry to community. Quarterly home-cooked dinners for residents, departure baskets for graduates and Christmas stockings for staff and residents are a few our ongoing outreach programs. Currently, we are heading a Lenten fundraising drive to raise $40,000 in 40 days to assist LINC in purchasing a desperately needed van to transport residents to and from work.
Fellowship events include hosting topical movie nights and co-hosting events with other organizations provides the opportunity to share or mission and goals with others. Networking with like-minded people and bringing our message to others in a more social atmosphere is a key goal for our group.